Friday, October 26, 2012
Friday, How He Does It - James Hutchings
> We all know there are six elements in writing fiction and often fact. Who,
> What, When, Where, Why and How. I believe the first five lead to the sixth
> which for me is the plot. What's your take on this?
I usually think of plot first, and everything else comes from that.
> 1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?
> 2. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or
> do you let the characters develop the route to the end?
(my answer to these two questions is pretty much the same)
I know that starting with a character, then deriving the plot from what they'd
do, is often held up as the best way to write. However I usually start with an
idea for a plot, and work out my characters to fit the plot.
> 3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or
> a specific one?
It depends. In a short story or poem I'll usually think of the ending as part of
the initial idea. But for longer works I might not. For example I'm working on a
long poem set in the old West called 'Confession of a Bounty Hunter', and up
until recently I hadn't decided whether the main character would live or die.
> 4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and
> plans of houses sitting around?
I mostly write fantasy - and my fantasy worlds aren't baed on any particular
historical period - so I can make it up without having to look anything up.
Even when I write in a historical perod, I'm usually more interested in how the
characters interact than in the details of the setting, so I infrequently need
to find anything out (for example whether they had kerosene lanterns in the old
West, or what Smith & Wesson's first names were).
A few of my stories are set 'here and now'.
> 5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
Most of my 'research' is writing down interesting things from history or fiction
that I find online, usually on wikipedia. For example, these are curses from the
front of two medieval books, that I intend to use one day:
If anyone take away this book, let them die the death; let them be fried in a
pan; let the falling sickness and fever seize them; let them be broken on the
wheel, and hanged.
Should anyone by craft of any device whatever abstract this book from its owner
may their soul suffer, in retribution for what they have done, and may their
name be erased from the book of the living and not recorded among the Blessed.
> 6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why?
With poetry, at least traditional poetry, you have to revise as you go along to
make the rhymes and rhythm fit. With prose I also tend to revise as I go.
However I always show my work to my ex, who acts as my unofficial editor, before
sending it out. She usually has suggestions for changes, and this can go back
and forth for several drafts.